Donald Trump, 9/11 leech

    Rep. Joseph Crowley

    Rep. Joseph Crowley

    The Democrats tend not to wallow in the sewer with infantile chants like “Lock Her Up.” Thus far, anyway, their preferred tactic is to whack Donald Trump with substance.

    We saw this last night, when a New York congressman, Joe Crowley, assailed Trump for grabbing federal money that was intended to help small businesses crippled by 9/11. And Crowley’s indictment has the added advantage of being true.

    Crowley’s accurate account: “Where was Donald Trump in the days and months and the years after 9/11? He didn’t stand at the pile, he didn’t lobby Congress for help, he didn’t fight for the first responders. Nope, he cashed in, collecting $150,000 in government funds intended to help small businesses recover — even though days after the attack Trump said his properties were not affected.”

    One goal of this convention is to draw stark character contrasts between Hillary Clinton and Trump. Case in point, their divergent reactions after the planes leveled the towers. Clinton, as a newbie senator, worked successfully on health legislation to address the needs of first responders who’d spent weeks breathing toxic PCBs. In ’04, the responders staged a ceremony to thank her. Trump, on the other hand, did precisely what Crowley described. He made money off the attack.

    This has been well-documented by the New York Daily News, and seconded by two conservative media outlets, Red State and The Weekly Standard. A state grant program was set up to help small businesses recover and rebuild. But because the rules were so loose, Trump and some big corporations jumped in. The state program defined “small business” as 500 employes or less; Trump, in his application, said that his building at 40 Wall Street had 28 employes. Voila, he got $150,000 — even though, as he told German TV shortly after the 9/11, his property “wasn’t, fortunately, affected by what happened to the World Trade Center.”

    Did he break any laws? Nope. Instead, as the conservative Weekly Standard wrote last winter, “through a loophole in the rules, Trump was able to squeeze $150,000 of money from taxpayers.”

    Is this a character issue? Absolutely. As the Red State site wrote last winter — and it’s great to see these conservative outlets in sync with a Democratic congressman — we’re talking here about a despicable human being:

    “This simply goes to Trump’s sense of entitlement. If he wants your house for a limousine parking lot, well, he’s entitled …. Support abortion and then expect to be believed when he changes his tune? Entitled. Money for small businesses affected by 9/11? Entitled. He took this grant money, and I’m sure he’d tell you that $150K is chump change …. He didn’t need it. But he wanted it.”

    And sure enough, Trump does think it’s chump change. Two months ago, when The New York Times asked him about it, he described it as “this small amount of money.” That’s probably news to the median American household, which, according to the Census Bureau, posts an annual tally of $54,000.

    Still, the odds are high that, by the time this evening is over — by the time Joe Biden, Tim Kaine, and Barack Obama are done speaking — this episode of “Donald Trump, 9/11 Leech” will look like chump change.

    Speaking of Trump, he broke into the Democratic news cycle today by staging a press conference. When asked about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, which has been traced to pro-Trump Russia (this story has legs), Trump claimed that he has no business relationships with anyone in Russia. I’ll go out on a limb and say that I am reluctant to believe him. He could best address those concerns by releasing his tax returns, like every other major candidate has done these past 40 years.

    And on the hacking issue, he doubled down by uncorking this beaut: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing,” a reference to the purportedly personal emails that Clinton deleted from her private server. “Let’s see if that happens. That will be next.”

    Well. Another milestone has been set. Here we have a major presidential candidate calling on a foreign power to commit espionage against an opponent. This is the best evidence yet that Trump is a serious threat to our national security.

    Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1, and on Facebook.

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